How to Wire a Motion Sensor to an Existing Light

How to Wire a Motion Sensor to an Existing Light

When you spruce up the outside of your home or purchase a new place to live, there may be some wonderful outdoor light fixtures that you don’t want to change. They probably didn’t come with a motion sensor attached, though.

If that is the case, then it is possible to wire a motion detector to an existing light.

You don’t need to be an electrical wiz to create your own motion light setup. It can be done fairly easily.

You can install a motion sensor switch on an existing light fixture without having to worry about pulling lights apart or hiring an electrician.

Benefits of a motion sensor on your outdoor lights

There are many benefits to having a motion sensor on your outdoor lights. First, an outdoor motion light is helpful when you arrive home late in the evening.

How many times have you gone out and forgot to turn the outdoor lights on? With a motion sensor light, you pull in, walk up and the light turns on using motion detection.

You don’t have to struggle in the dark to find your keys, trip over the kid’s toys or balance bags of groceries while trying to make your way to the door. It offers some necessary lighting on a dark porch.

The obvious benefit of a motion-activated light is increased security for your home or business. While many burglars are deterred by security signage and/or cameras, they also tend to back away when there are motion sensors.

They scare people off who shouldn’t be there and also light the area for security cameras that may not have night vision. They also highlight any signage warning of other security measures.

If you do choose to want to wire a motion sensor to an existing light, then follow these easy steps:

  1. Make sure the power to the light is turned off before you start anything.
  2. Use a volt detector and test the wires to make sure they are dead and remove the cover.
  3. Take off the insert so you have a place to install the motion sensor.
  4. Run the necessary wires to the light fixture and add the motion sensor to the light.
  5. Take the hot wire that is coming from the house into the motion sensor black wire – the other wire goes to the hot wire from the light – tire the wires that are neutral together.
  6. Once this is complete, then adjust the sensor sensitivity to where you want it.
  7. Close things up and turn the power back on.

If you decide to choose the easier way, then here are some great ways to do it.

Solving the light sensor issue with existing lights

Security technology is constantly improving in leaps and bounds. Motion sensors are no longer simply chunky old floodlights with a big sensor. There are various answers to solving the light sensor issue.

Motion sensor light bulbs

These outdoor sensor bulbs are a simple approach to have motion detectors with the pre-existing outdoor lighting fixtures.

The bulbs have what is called a passive infrared sensor built into them at the top of the glass part of the bulb. This will detect anything that has a heat signature. This could be a person or an animal.

The heat of the body will be detected by this sensor as infrared light. When a body comes within the assigned range of the bulb, then the light will turn on.

They install just like a regular bulb and give off light. They don’t affect how your light fixture looks at all.

Motion Sensor and Security Camera

This combination camera and motion-activated light is a great option if you don’t want to buy a full camera security system. This one can be adapted to work with your current light fixture.

It comes with a camera and a USB power adapter which just screws into the outdoor light socket as a regular light.

It powers the light and the camera. This particular one is great because the light is motion-activated and then its camera offers live HD video feeds, a two-way intercom, a siren, cloud storage, and notifications to your mobile device.

It is also weather-resistant and only takes a few minutes to install.

The benefit is that the light is actually a smart light, so you can have it set to detect motion or turn it on from your phone. There are lots of great benefits to this sensor light.

Motion Sensor Socket

This is a great item if you want to keep your regular lightbulbs in their fixtures. It simply screws in as a lightbulb will and then you put the other lightbulb into the socket. It keeps the light fixture and bulbs the same while adding in a motion detector.

Light Fixtures

If you are not happy with any of these options that work with your current light fixture, there are also smart looking fixtures that come with motion sensors built-in.

This means some rewiring to install a new fixture is needed, but they look great and the sensors are built into the top of it. It is a stylish sconce that fits in with almost any outdoor décor.

The sensor has various modes that can be used depending on what you are looking for.

Final Thoughts

The important thing to note with all these motion sensor products is that they are rated for outdoor use. Indoor use sensors are problematic because if there is any bad weather, the sensor may become damaged and unusable very quickly.

Choose ones that are deemed for outdoor use so your money is well spent, and they will work for a longer period of time.

If you decide to wire the motion sensor yourself, be mindful of working with electricity and make sure to understand the rewiring process before you begin.

If you go with an easier method, then pick the one that will work the best for your illumination needs and budget.

There are some easy ways to get a motion sensor onto an existing light, making your home safer while still looking great.

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